TUPELO • Shane Aguirre will return to the state House of Representatives for a second term in the legislature.

A Tupelo Republican, Aguirre defeated his Democratic opponent Cathy Crace with about 62 percent of the vote total.

Aguirre represents House District 17, which sits entirely within Lee County, including much of of western and central Tupelo.

Nearly complete vote totals show that Aguirre captured 4,795 votes. Grace, a longtime educator, received 2,882 votes.

These Lee County numbers are not yet certified and do not include any affidavit ballots, but those outstanding votes cannot change the outcome of the race. The numbers above do include absentee ballots.

An accountant by profession, Aguirre served in his first term as the vice chair of the banking and financial services committee in the House. In the coming term, Aguirre anticipates he’ll play a greater role in the legislative process.

“With this being my second term I’m going to be given a lot more leadership opportunities,” Aguirre said. “Hopefully, I get a chairmanship of a good committee.”

With the potential for greater impact, Aguirre said he has some “very preliminary” ideas about his legislative priorities for the next term, though he, speaking Wednesday, he was not yet prepared to offer specific details.

The lawmaker did cite early childhood education, infrastructure and the economy as issues of importance for his constituents.

Tupelo’s Early Childhood Education Center could offer a model for the rest of the state, Aguirre said.

Education policy was a centerpiece of Grace’s campaign for the House District 17 seat, including pre-kindergarten.

Looking to the future on the day after her defeat, Grace said she intends to remain an advocate for public schools.

“Public education, which includes high quality teachers, has always been at the focal point of the community,” Grace said Wednesday. “It seems in the future, holding officials accountable for their votes on those issues during every legislative session is the only way advances in funding will occur.”

caleb.bedillion@journalinc.com

Twitter: @CalebBedillion

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